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Do-It-Yourself Custom Headboard

Spruce up your sleep space with this custom headboard from Episode 4 of our video series The Weekender. Simple elements and a dramatic chevron pattern combine in this do-it-yourself project to give your bedroom a sophisticated focal point.

See a new episode and project each week

Custom Chevron Headboard.

Planning for Your Headboard

Custom Chevron Headboard.
  • You can cut your plywood to the size you need for your bed. The final headboard includes a frame around the headboard perimeter, so be sure to account for this when determining the final size of the headboard. Our headboard uses furring strips that add just under 1-1/2 inches to both the width and height of the plywood.
  • Keep in mind that the larger the headboard, the heavier it will be. Enlist a helper as needed.
  • Since the headboard hangs on the wall like a large picture or mirror, a larger size also means you need sturdier hardware. Make sure you have the correct heavy-duty hardware — such as a cleat system or D-rings — and that the hardware is rated to support the final weight.
  • Furring strips form the chevron pattern. Look at your material to determine the side of the wood you want to display. For example, you may want to try to match the grain on adjoining pieces or you may want to have contrast between pieces. Make your cuts with this in mind.
Good to Know

A 60-tooth circular saw blade will give you a cleaner cut than a blade with fewer teeth.

Building the Headboard

Step 1

Place your 4 x 8 plywood sheet on sawhorses or a work table and cut to size.

Step 2

Measure and mark the midpoints of the four edges of the plywood. Snap chalk lines between the marks on each opposite edge. The lines should cross in the middle to act as guides for placing the furring strips that create the chevron pattern.

Watch our DIY Basics video: How Do I Use a Chalk Line?

Step 3

Use a straightedge to draw a diagonal line from the center point of the chalk lines to one of the top corners. Use a T-bevel or combination square to determine the angle where this line meets the vertical chalk line and the angle where it meets the horizontal chalk line. You'll use these angles to cut the furring strips.

Watch our DIY Basics video: How Do I Use a Combination Square?

Step 4

Chevron Pattern on the Headboard.

Begin with the top half of the headboard. Set your miter saw to the first angle and make miter cuts on two furring strips (a left and a right piece) and attach them to the plywood with wood glue and finishing nails. Start at the center of the chalk lines and create a V shape. Make any necessary adjustments. Cut and attach the furring strips all the way to the top. The furring strips will overhang the plywood, but you'll cut them to size later in the project.

Watch our DIY Basics video: What's That Cut Called?

Good to Know

While you can use a hammer to drive the nails, a pneumatic nailer lets you work more quickly. See our Nailer / Nail Gun Buying Guide to learn more about nailers.

Step 5

Set your miter saw to the second angle. Cut furring strips to run along the horizontal chalk link and fill in the top half of the headboard.

Step 6

Follow the same steps for the bottom half to create an inverted V pattern and complete the chevron design. Allow the glue to dry.

Step 7

Mark the overhanging furring strips so you can trim off the excess. Use a straightedge to draw lines along the four edges of the headboard, and cut along the lines with a circular saw.

Good to Know

You can also mark and cut the furring strips from the back of the headboard. Flip the assembly over so the pattern is face-down. Outline the edges of the plywood on the back faces of the furring strips. At the corners of the plywood, use a straightedge to extend the lines across the overhanging material. Cut along the lines to remove the excess and flip the assembly back over.

Step 8

Make sure all nail heads are below the surface of the wood and sand the entire assembly.

Good to Know

Sand first with 120-grit sandpaper and finish with a finer grit, such as 180. Read our Sandpaper Buying Guide to learn about types of sandpaper.

Step 9

Make a 45-degree bevel cut at one end of an additional furring strip. Place the furring strip along one edge of the headboard assembly, lining the bevel cut up with a corner. Mark the other end of the furring strip at the opposite corner of the headboard assembly. Use this mark as a reference for a second bevel cut on the furring strip. Repeat this process for each edge until you have four furring strips that create tight 90-degree corners around the headboard assembly. Sand and trim as necessary to adjust the fit.

Step 10

One edge on each furring strip will be flush with the back of the plywood. The other edge will overhang the pattern you created. From what will be the back edge of each strip, measure and mark in 1/4 inch at each end. Use a straightedge to lightly draw lines connecting the marks on each furring strip.

Step 11

Headboard Frame.

Attach the frame around the assembly with wood glue and finishing nails. Use the lines you drew in Step 10 as guides for driving the nails. Remember to keep the back edges of the frame flush with the back face of the headboard assembly.

Step 12

Sand the headboard and stain with your choice of color. We used a dark walnut stain (Minwax® Oil-Based Interior Stain 2716).

Hanging the Headboard

Do-It-Yourself Headboard on the Wall.

Secure picture-hanging hardware to the back of the headboard. See How to Hang Heavy Mirrors for steps on adding the hardware and hanging your headboard. Here are some key points:

  • Determine the weight of the headboard and select hardware and anchors that will support it — check the packaging for weight limits.
  • Make sure the hardware is suitable for your wall type — drywall, plaster or masonry.
  • Locate wall studs to help support the headboard. Read How to Find Studs in Walls for tips. Note that power cables might be attached to studs that are near a light switch or outlet.
  • Use appropriate wall anchors as necessary. Watch our DIY Basics video: How Do I Use Drywall Anchors?
  • Apply rubber bumpers to the bottom of the headboard to protect your wall.

Shop for Picture-Hanging Hardware